Israeli team track down biblical kosher animals

Were rhinos once kosher?

Were rhinos once kosher?

Friday night dinner might never be the same, thanks to researchers at two Israeli universities.

Academics at Haifa and Bar Ilan universities have launched an investigation into the biblical species referred to in the book of Deuteronomy as "clean" or kosher.

Some, such as the ox and the goat, are clearly identifiable. But modern diners are less familiar with species like the aqqo, yakhmur or the dishon.

The researchers conducting the "archaeozoological study" looked at more than 130 biblical sites in order to work out what modern animals Jewish people would be permitted to eat.

Their findings suggested that Jews may once have been permitted to eat mountain gazelles, antelopes and perhaps even rhinos and giraffes. The researchers said their findings so far showed there was "some significance in the order of appearance of each species in the Bible's list of animals deemed clean for consumption".

"By arriving at a more precise identification of the animals, we can more confidently confirm that at first domesticated animals are named," they said. "Following that the verse mentions the animals in order of their importance for human consumption in the biblical Land of Israel.

    Last updated: 10:55am, July 14 2011